Foot And Mouth disease (FMD): Epidemiology & control measures

Author: Dr. Ali Raza

Co Author: Dr. Muhammad Tahir Aleem

FMD emerged  as one of most dangerous disease for dairy farm animals With the recent advancement in livestock sector.

Foot And Mouth disease (FMD): Epidemiology & control measuresLivestock sector is considered as major contributor in upgrading any country’s economy. Major portion of livestock includes dairy farming. Like all other developing countries Pakistan economy heavily relies on livestock sector. Pakistan considered as 5th largest milk producing country throughout the globe. Many diseases effect livestock sector like Mastitis, Three days sickness, FMD. 

Foot and mouth disease(FMD) is highly contagious disease caused by genus Aphthovirus belongs to family picornaviridae. It has 7 serotypes(A, O, C, Asia 1, SAT 1, 2,3).it effects large range of animals which include cattle pigs sheep goats bison’s, giraffes, elephants. The virus spread through direct and in direct contact with infected secretions and excretions like semen an milk It also include mechanical vectors like horses, dogs, cats, birds, vehicles, utensils. People also act as a mechanical source of the disease. The virus enter through ingestion, Inhalation, through mucus member and breeding also an important route of entry for virus of SAT strain.  


Aphthovirus initially effects mucosa of pharynx or may be through skin lesions or GI tract. The virus once reached lymphatic system it replicated into epithelium of mouth muzzle teat feet and injured or damaged skin. Vesicles formed in organs and raptured within 48 hour. The incubation period of FMD is different depends upon host, environment, route of exposure ,and finally virus stain. The average incubation period for sheep and goat is 3 to 8 days after exposure to virus. The incubation period can be short as 18 hours under severe direct contact.

Clinical signs:

Clinical signs includes high fever 104 F with vesicle formation throughout the respiratory track including tongue hard palate, dental pad, lips,  gums, muzzle,  coronary band, interdigital cleft. In lactating cows. secondary bacterial infections commonly occur as immunity system of animals compromised during the disease .Morbidity and mortality rate depends upon severity of disease, entrance route and age of animals. In adult animals mortality rate is low of about 1-5% while in case of young calves this mortality rate varies from 5-94%. FMD can be diagnosed on the basis of laboratory testing like PCR and ELISA.

Preventive measures:

Following protective measures should be adopted in order to avoid this issue.

  • Dairy farmers and owners should be properly guided about this disease.
  • Doctors and para medical staff should also trained properly against FMD.
  • As it is contagious so special instructions should be provided to farmers in case of its outbreak.
  • Vaccinations are available against FMD so all animals should be vaccinated properly to avoid this infection.
  • Proper monitoring teams should be made to check the vaccination status of all dairy animals.
  • In case of any infection, the effected animals should be separated from healthy animals.
  • Feeding, urinations, faeces, watering banks, utensils of effected animals should be separated from healthy animals.
  • In case of any outbreak in any area teams should aware the nearby farms and villages to make them alert about this disease.
  • All doctors especially workers should properly trained about signs and symptoms of disease for timely diagnosis of disease.
  • While importing or exporting of dairy animals special monitoring teams should be made to check disease status of animal
  • In case of any outbreak in any area export and import of dairy animals from that area should be restricted for some time.
  • In case of any suspect the animals should be separated for 2 to 3 weaks for confirmation.
  • All government and private sectors have to play their role to eliminate this problem from Pakistan.